One of those rare cases where both the dealer and the newspaper columnists were 100 percent correct.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Apr 01, 1997

Dear Tom and Ray:

Sleazeball is the correct term to describe you guys! In a recent column,
you told "Kathy" that $300 was a fair price for a new ignition module on
her 1990 Chevy Lumina. The price of an ignition module is about $35 in a
discount store, maybe 10 bucks more in an auto parts store. The time it
takes to install one is about 15 minutes (I've done several of them).

Tom's remark that "it gets bounced and rattled every time you drive the
car" is also pure baloney. This device is firmly mounted and never moves.
And it contains no moving parts. Kathy was cheated out of about $250. You
two should be ashamed of yourself for printing this garbage and misleading
the uninformed general public. You two jerks have thoroughly discredited
yourselves with me. -- Joe

RAY: Wow, Joe. Did someone give you an atomic wedgie recently? Lighten up,
will ya! Ignition module prices vary from car to car. "Kathy" was driving a
1990 Chevy Lumina, and the list price of that module (a Delco-Remy module
for the six-cylinder Lumina from the parts supplier we use) is $248. And on
this car, the module is literally buried under the manifold, and it's not a
15-minute job by any stretch of the imagination.

TOM: So when you add an hour of labor -- which is more reasonable -- to the
price of the part, then factor in the time spent diagnosing the problem,
$300 is not at all out of line.

RAY: There are other cars, like the Ford Escort, which have an ignition
module that does cost less than $50, and is easier to reach. But the price
and location of ignition modules vary from car to car. In fact, some
modules for Japanese cars cost more than $300 for the part alone!

TOM: And about the "bouncing," we were explaining to Kathy that even though
they have no moving parts, ignition modules take a lot of abuse. They
certainly do get bounced and rattled when you drive the car.

RAY: Every time you hit a bump, every part of the car gets jolted -- from
the tires to the suspension, to the ignition module, to your butt. It
doesn't matter if the ignition module is bolted into place, it's still
going to take a jolt when you hit a pothole, not to mention the temperature
extremes it's put through.

RAY: So although we hate to make any of our readers look foolish, Joe, I'm
afraid we're going to have to make an exception in your case. You're
speaking from experience, but your experience is obviously limited. Kathy
did not get ripped off paying $300 for her ignition module. This was one of
those cases (and we admit they're rare) where both the dealer and the
newspaper columnists were 100 percent correct.

* * *

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